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Award winning Manchester Academy Project
The latest chapter in Manchester Communication Academy's (MCA's) “Once Upon a Time” project has a happy ending

Once upon a time....

MCA has won a TES School Award in the community impact category for the local history project. It started off in 2010 with pupils interviewing older adults in the community and recording their memories. Now it is a registered community group with more than 500 members. The Once Upon a Time project began in 2010 when pupils started interviewing local adults to record their memories. Now members of the community group contribute to and receive a local history magazine three times a year. They can also attend community events that pupils play an active role in, as well as drop-in sessions. These have been particularly valuable for people at risk of social isolation. Members can also take a variety of courses in subjects including literacy, numeracy and cookery. Many of the 304 adults who enrolled on courses in 2016 live in some of the most disadvantaged areas in England and Wales. By continuing to learn, the adults are setting an example to MCA pupils that it’s never too late to strive to improve yourself.

MCA is a state-funded secondary school and BT is its lead sponsor. Mike Blackburn, Chairman of the BT North West Regional board said: “This is a fantastic award, recognising the significant impact that the staff and school are having on the local community. The Once Upon a Time project is just one of a range of community engagements that the academy undertakes. Local people talk about these projects with great affection. I’m really proud of what the academy has achieved.”

Mike is among employees from across BT’s line of business units who help out with the Greater Manchester Academy Trust. We help youngsters with CV writing and provide introductions to the world of work, talking about our apprenticeship scheme. We also help teachers build confidence teaching computer science through the Barefoot Computing programme. BT Sport also ran a pilot with MCA, looking at the impact digital technologies have on jobs.